New Therapies Bring Hope to Rare Cancer Types

New therapies are emerging for the treatment of cholangiocarcinoma, a rare type of cancer that is not often discussed.
BY DARA CHADWICK
PUBLISHED: AUGUST 04, 2017
Nearly seven
years after being
diagnosed with
cholangiocarcinoma,
PATTY CORCORAN
has become both an
inspiration to, and
advocate for, others
diagnosed with
the disease. - PHOTO BY KATE EDWARDS KEY
Nearly seven years after being diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, PATTY CORCORAN has become both an inspiration to, and advocate for, others diagnosed with the disease. - PHOTO BY KATE EDWARDS KEY
IN 2011, AT AGE 46, Patty Corcoran was in great health. The Olney, Illinois, resident ate right, exercised regularly and was devoted to her job as a social worker, helping low-income families access needed resources. So, when she ended up in the local hospital’s emergency room with a stabbing pain in the right side of her abdomen, she assumed the gallbladder surgery for which she was subsequently scheduled would be fairly routine.

She was wrong.

A pre-operative sonogram led to a phone call she wasn’t expecting — it was her doctor, canceling the next day’s surgery. Something wasn’t right, and Corcoran was soon on her way to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. There, a biopsy confirmed a diagnosis of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, a rare cancer of the bile ducts inside the liver. She had a tumor that measured nine centimeters by 10 centimeters.



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